Storms

10172814_10204137258500002_7656639446906731660_nIt’s been a tough few days here in the south, and yesterday was really tough here in Mississippi.  One of the things that happens when you have served all over the state is  you know people everywhere. So, I heard about Tupelo and I thought of friends at The Orchard and FUMC.  I then saw pictures of St. Luke, where I went to meetings at all time and was stunned.

Then, I hear about Louisville, and the hospital being destroyed.  I text a friend to check on him, and find out he’s busy, moving nursing home residents into his church’s gym after their nursing home was badly damaged.

Then, we hear of Brandon and Pearl, and Holly and I have family there; lots of friends. So, we are texting and calling.  Trying to find out what is going on.

And here in Petal, and at Asbury, this all cuts close to home as it was this time last year we were recovering from tornadoes that destroyed so much of our town and left so many without homes.

Storms come into our lives, both “weather” related, as well as storms of sickness or addiction or tragedy.   Storms come.  Today I was reading from the book of Psalms, and listen to what it says in Psalm 57: 1-3:

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me.
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

In the midst of the storm, sometimes we just have to take refuge in God and just hold on.  Hold on tight to Him.  Trust in Him.  Rely on Him.  In the storm, in the darkness, in the fear, in all of it, just hold on.

The destruction will pass.  The storm will pass.  God will send His love and faithfulness.

He will.

And, sometimes, we are the way that He sends it.  God will send help from heaven to help those in the storms to help.  Maybe, just maybe, that help is from you and me.  We can give or we can give.  We can pray.  We can serve.  We can call/text.  We can support.

We can do so much.

So, today, to those of us in the midst of the storm, take refuge in God.  He will protect you in the shelter of His wings.

And to those of us that have made it through the storms, maybe our job it to be that help from heaven. Today, how can you help someone in the storms (either the literal storms of yesterday, or the storms that swirl around us daily).

How can we help today?  How can we be salt and light today?  In our day today; may that be our mission.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Foundations

One of the things I’ll never forget was when I was preaching in the delta. When I was there, at night, you’d see people outside watering their yards.

Nothing unusual about that.

But you’d see them after they finished watering their yards; they’d take the water and start watering their houses. I thought to myself, ok, this is an odd place.

I asked one of my members what they were doing, and they said that they kept the ground around their houses moist so that the ground wouldn’t settle and destroy their foundations.

So, to keep their foundations of the house strong, they literally watered their house.

Foundations are important. They keep us stable, they keep us safe in storms. They give us something to rely upon in times of trouble.

So, the question for us is this, what is the foundation of our lives. Is it Jesus? Or is it something else.  Listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 7: 24-27

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

In this passage, Jesus warms us that storms are coming. The wise one builds their house upon Him. And when the storm comes, they will be ok.

The foolish builds their house upon something else. And when the storm comes, they are blown away.

Storms will come in our lives. Troubles will come. What is your life built upon? It it’s upon Jesus, it might not be fun, but you’ll be ok.

If not, the storm will cause great harm.

Today, what is your foundation?

An Anchor

I don’t do water. Anyone that’s ever been around me at a water park, or the beach, or really anywhere with water has learned that I don’t do water. I’m glad if water works for you, but just not my thing.

So, I’m not going to lie to you, I know nothing about boats, water, deep-sea fishing, or sea creatures. Other than the fact that I like most sea creatures fried.

But, in reading about ships, boats, and sailing, one of the things I’ve learned to appreciate is an anchor.

Now, you sea folks may correct me, but from what I’ve read and learned, it is that anchor that keeps the ship stable and in one place in the water. The anchor allows the ship to stay where it is and not be moved. And when a storm blows up, that is incredibly important. This anchor will keep the ship safe, unmoved, and undamaged.

This anchor will allow a ship to survive a storm.

Listen to what the author of Hebrews says this morning:

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

Storms are coming. There’s no doubt. There will be troubles. There will be trials. There will be tough times. There will be tears. Storms are coming.

But, remember, when the storm comes, and even when the water is smooth, you have an anchor. You have something to keep you anchored and safe. You have something you can trust.

Or, some one you can trust.

Jesus. He is your anchor. When the storms come, He is your anchor. When the wind blows, He is your anchor. When trials and temptations affect you, He is your anchor. You can trust in Him. And He will be with you in all that happens in your life.

He is the anchor for our lives. He is the one that we can count on. He is the very truth, heart, and love of God. And our lives must be anchored in Him.

Today, when the wind blows, may we find our anchor in Jesus. And may we know that no matter what blows up around us, we are safe and secure in Him.

What You Were Made For

Yesterday in a Bible Study, we were talking about the weather that’s come through the area recently, talking about the flooding thats hit Nashville and Memphis, talking about the river of oil rushing towards the Gulf Coast, talking Coal Mine disasters, talking about earthquakes, talking about Icelandic Volcanos, talking about all that’s been happening in the world.

And then a question was asked that didn’t really expect.

Is the world coming to an end? It was not asked in a wild-eyed, conspiracy laden way, but in a calm, sober voice. One that looked around at all that’s been happening and wondered, wow, what are we to make of all this.

I responded with the assurance, yes, each day we live, we are closer to the return of our Lord. Now is the return to be today?  Tomorrow? The day after?  That I don’t know, and that I leave in God’s hands. Because even Jesus said no on knows the hour or day.

I was thinking about when I read a passage from 1 Thessalonians this morning:

9 For God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep we may live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.

Paul was writing to the people there about the Second Coming. He writes about all that is to happen, about all these mysteries. But then He begins chapter 5 with this passage about being faithful and reminds them – you were made for salvation.

You were created not for wrath, but for salvation.

God is not out to get you.

God is not out to punish you.

God is not out to crush you.

We were not made for that.

We were made for salvation, for life, for love, for grace, for hope, for all that is good and noble and peaceful.

In the storms of life, the storms of this world, the storms of our soul, never forget that. Never forget what you were made for. Never forget God’s purpose for you.

To be loved.

Never let your fears outweigh the love that God has for you.  You were made to be loved.

By God, and by others.

Today, may we live as we were made to be. May we live in that awesome love and life of God.